Benefit Concert for Wind Ensemble

Emily Winston, Staff Writer

The Ward Melville Wind Ensemble will be performing in Carnegie Hall on Saturday, April 19th, 2014.  A benefit concert featuring Three Village music teachers and performers, who graciously donated their time and talents, took place during the last week in January and helped raise funds to defray the cost of the trip.  The wind ensemble will be participating in the National Invitational Festival, and the performance will be adjudicated by various judges. This will be a momentous occasion for the group.

On Thursday night, January 30th, the Ward Melville auditorium seats were full of musicians, students, parents, families, and friends. The concert opened with Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 for horn and piano, featuring Anthony Hayes on French horn, and his brother, Daniel Hayes on piano. Following their performance, professional oboist, Terry Keevil, performed his original piece, Opening Into The Morning, for solo duduk (an ancient double reed instrument). Aaron Copland’s music Quiet City featured trumpeter Sean Jordan, English Horn player Daniel Hayes, pianist Joanne Jordan, cellist Robert Davies, and violinists Taryn Cinquemani, Alison Johnson, and Alisa Rabbitt. A unique flute quartet employing flute, bass flute, alto flute, piccolo, and even the didgeridoo, performed Ewzaen’s Harmony in Blue and Gold, and Burnette’s Wyndsong. The flutists in this ensemble included Amy Kempton, Peggy Rakas, Debra Schild and Laura Gustavsen.  A jazz group, “The Mark Portugal Quartet”, created an upbeat atmosphere featuring saxophonist Jon Holford, pianist Jay Orig, bassist Pete Coco, and percussionist Mark Portugal. The solos were truly gripping and a treat to any professional or amateur musician. Terry Keevil returned to the stage with pianist Guy Stapak, to perform Homage to Hafiz, a piece composed by Simon Sargon. This rather modern piece was replete with fast runs which contrasted with beautiful chords from the piano. The dynamics, trills, and quick articulations also contributed to the impeccable performance. The concert concluded with a final piece by “The Mark Portugal Quartet” which showcased Mark Portugal’s versatility on percussion. After refreshments, desserts, raffles, and a convivial evening, the event came to a close.

The benefit concert for the wind ensemble was a great success. The music teachers of the Three Village School district pooled their resources and performed for their students. Their collaborative nature and exceptional performances taught by example outside the traditional music classroom. The audience was treated to non-traditional instruments, including the duduk and didgeridoo as well as varied musical genres, such as classical, jazz, and contemporary. Aside from the funds raised, the concert positively impacted the community. Hopefully, another successful evening of music will be reproduced in the future. As the Ward Melville Wind Ensemble takes the stage of Carnegie Hall, they will recall the support and professionalism of their teachers and aim to play with the same level of musicianship displayed Thursday night.